New Delhi: In order to make celebrities and prominent personalities accountable for misleading ads, a Parliamentary Standing Committee on Tuesday called for a stringent provisions in order to protect consumer interest.
As per the report, celebrities endorsing misleading ads might face jail term up to five years or pay hefty penalty of up to Rs 50 lakh or both.
In its report on the Consumer Protection Bill 2015, tabled in Parliament today, the panel suggested legal teeth to advertising watchdog ASCI to curb misleading ads besides proposing severe penalties, jail and cancellation of license of those involved in food adulteration.
"The committee strongly feels that misrepresentation of a product especially of food product should be taken very seriously considering the influence of celebrities and high networth individuals and companies. The existing laws are not deterrent enough to discourage manufacturers or publishers from using such personalities for misleading ads," the panel on Consumer Affairs said in its report.
The Committee, therefore, recommends that stringent provisions may be made in the bill to tackle misleading advertisement, as well as, to fix liability on endorsers/celebrities, it said.
"The committee recommends that for first time offence, the offender may be penalised with either a fine of Rs 10 lakh or imprisonment up to two years or both. For second time offence, a fine of Rs 50 lakh and imprisonment of five years.
In recent times, celebrities have been receiving flak for endorsing brands that mislead consumers. Recently, Indian cricket captain MS Dhoni was in headlines after he resigned as the brand ambassador of Amrapali after residents in Noida staged a protest against the builder and the cricketer.
Last year, Amitabh Bachchan and Madhuri Dixit were also in news for endorsing popular snack Maggi noodles.
(With PTI inputs)